Minutes: August 25th, 2020

Catawba Island Township Board of Township Trustees

Meeting Minutes

August 25, 2020

The regular business meeting of the Catawba Island Board of Township Trustees was called to order by Chairman Matt Montowski on Tuesday, August 25, at 7:30 p.m. at the Community Hall located at 3307 NW Catawba Road.

In attendance were: Diane Belden, Matt Montowski, William Rofkar, Karen Shaw, Dan Barlow, John Gangway, Ernie Wylie, Laurie Manning, Travis Thompson, Holly Bucci, Ann Rumpf,
Jim Stouffer, Reggie Langford, Will Moore, Jordan Davenport, Dave Belden, Jack Madison,
Joe Remalius, Ted Altfeld, Jack Pekar, John Meister, Brian Caldwell, Nancy Caldwell,
Randy Riedmaier, and Jack DeVore.

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.

Diane Belden made a motion to approve the August 11, 2020 Board of Trustees regular meeting minutes as presented. William Rofkar seconded the motion. All voted aye. Motion carried.

William Rofkar made a motion to approve and pay the bills, including the payroll, in the amount of $66,044.81. Diane Belden seconded the motion. All voted aye. Motion carried.


A newsletter from the Ottawa Soil & Water Conservation District and an invitation to celebrate their 68th anniversary as a Soil & Water Conservation District. They will be hosting a Fabulous Fifties Conservation Cruise In on Wednesday, September 23, at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds.

The Summer 2020 Chamber Compass newsletter from the Port Clinton Chamber of Commerce.

An email from Fire Chief Kevin Gibbons regarding vehicle replacement proposals.


Fiscal Officer Karen Shaw said notification was received from the Ottawa County Budget Commission that Catawba Island Township’s share of Local Government funds for 2021 is estimated to be $15,546.75.


Matt Montowski said there were eleven zoning permits issued in July and five variances with a total of $2,442.76 collected in fees.


Police Chief John Gangway said the part-time officer hired at the last meeting has revoked his application and has decided to get out of the criminal justice business but wanted to let the Trustees know he appreciated the opportunity that was offered.


Maintenance Supervisor Dan Barlow discussed a previously approved proposal from The Kreimes Company for $7,775 that needed to be resubmitted due to the square foot area of coverage on Converse Street. The new bid includes an asphalt repair at the old fire station for $950 and the asphalt overlay at Converse Street for an area of 4,956 square feet for $10,605.

Joe Remalius said he lives on Converse and he thinks visually the entire road should be repaired and not just half of the road as proposed.

William Rofkar said the life cycle of roads often requires the road to be fixed in between resurfacing the entire road. He said roads are not repaved for aesthetic reasons if the road is structurally sound.

William Rofkar made a motion to contract with The Kreimes Company for $11,555 for the asphalt overlay at Converse Street and the asphalt repair at the old fire station. Diane Belden seconded the motion. All voted aye. Motion carried.

Dan Barlow presented a proposal from The Kreimes Company for $12,725 to asphalt the east and west parking lots at the Union Chapel. The proposal includes an additional cost of $397 to remove and replace 40 square foot of asphalt to repair Porter Street.

William Rofkar said he asked Dan Barlow to get a quote as the chapel parking lot is used by the Catawba Island Historical Society and he would like to see it paved.

William Rofkar made a motion to contract with The Kreimes Company for a total of $13,122 to asphalt the chapel parking lots and to repair Porter Street. Diane Belden seconded the motion. All voted aye. Motion carried.

Dan Barlow said maintenance personnel have replaced three of the four doors on the chapel steeple and will replace the fourth by the end of the week.

Dan Barlow presented a quote from Seacom Computer for $1,462.36 to replace the maintenance department desktop computer.

Diane Belden made a motion to purchase a computer system for the maintenance department from Seacom Computer for a total of $1,462.36. William Rofkar seconded the motion. All voted aye. Motion carried.

William Rofkar said the road resurfacing on Moores Dock and Beach Club will begin the middle of September.


Will Moore said Jeff Kennedy passed his fire class and is back to fire fighter status. Will Moore said the fire department will be present for the fireworks display at Catawba Island Club on Sunday, September 6. He also said fire department members continue to discuss the long term vehicle replacement plan with consideration given to the ISO rating program and an effort to maintain the current rating status.

Ann Rumpf said she recently had to call 911 and was very impressed with the first responders.

New Business

Matt Montowski presented an updated three page application to be completed by individuals interested in being appointed to serve on the Zoning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, or on the Parks Board.

Travis Thompson, Director of Risk Management for Hylant Administrative Services, said best practice would be to review applicant references to determine if individuals are recommended by their peers and also to do a simple local background search for any criminal convictions whether individuals are paid or volunteer. He said this type of search will tell you if individuals are qualified or if they have any restrictions that would keep them from serving. Travis Thompson said it is incumbent upon public leaders to find out if someone is qualified to conduct business on behalf of the township.

William Rofkar said he does not understand how a number of the questions presented on the updated application are relevant such as “Has a previous employer, whom you were employed by, worked for the township?”

Travis Thompson explained you cannot give an indication of favoritism based on previous work. He said an individual can be recommended by people you work with, but if you only hire or appoint people with whom you have done work with in the past it will show a system of favoritism and someone could bring a claim of discrimination. Travis Thompson said the question clears up any extension of employment based on any business with a contractor or provider in the past.

William Rofkar said he feels it is a lot of paperwork and background checks for volunteer positions.

Laurie Manning, Account Executive for Hylant Administrative Services, said the situation is unique because with public entities volunteers are literally covered members under the policy the same as paid staff, unlike with a private company.

Travis Thompson said you have sovereign immunity for what you do as a governmental function and anyone making a decision on behalf of the public entity is covered. He said it is up to the leadership to make sure they are vetting the candidates to provide them that immunity as well. Travis Thompson said he makes the same recommendation to every size governmental agency he visits.

William Rofkar said volunteers serving on a zoning board or parks board are limited as to what they can do and he does not know how anybody can get into trouble talking about things at a meeting.

Travis Thompson said if it is easy to find a checkered past and their decision making was questioned as part of that checkered past, the question could come up, well why didn’t you look into it before you put this person into the position and is that checkered past part of the reason they made this decision or not. Travis Thompson said we want to make sure we vet the people that place us in the best defensible position should someone challenge any decision that you make or that volunteer makes in that public service.

Matt Montowski said the Board of Zoning Appeals is a quasi-judicial board that makes decisions on variances and zoning matters and it is not to be taken lightly.

William Rofkar said he agrees but he does not understand how employment history of a zoning board member or something found in their background means we would deny the individual from serving on the board.

Diane Belden asked what if a candidate did make a mistake in their past and now they are trying to rectify that and do something good, what is the worst they could do on a park board that could put us in danger.

Travis Thompson said if their decision making is questioned because of their checkered past the question is going to come back to the Trustees decision making process and why you appointed this person to the board. He also asked how you would differentiate between multiple candidates without any documented information to help make that decision.

William Rofkar said it is a small community and most of the time we know people.

Travis Thompson said he understands that but we still have to vet the person in some way.

William Rofkar asked what the threshold should be if someone does have a criminal conviction?

Travis Thompson said it depends on what type of position you are looking to fill and if your decision making is challenged. He said for example if you advertised for two years and only had one applicant and you decided to work with that individual as some sort of improvement process, at least you have documentation of some vetting process to show why you made that decision.

Laurie Manning said it is important to do as much as you can in the beginning to show that you made the effort to make the best decisions possible. She said at the end of the day you can’t control beyond that but if you were proactive with your actions that is really what matters when we are trying to defend you. Laurie Manning said it also helps your rates when you do all the proactive things to make sure you are preparing for the worst. She said they have entities that do make volunteers go through more because they are interacting with the public and when you are a public entity charged with serving there are expectations.

William Rofkar asked Travis Thompson to explain a scenario where we could lose our governmental immunity for appointing a person with a conviction.

Travis Thompson said with the term negligent entrustment, if you are having someone on the road operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license and you know it, that is called negligent entrustment and that negligent entrustment erodes sovereign immunity. He said so anything that would happen with that person, they would not be covered nor would the action be covered. He said negligent entrustment is when you have given someone permission to operate on your behalf knowing they do not possess the qualifications to do so.

Travis Thompson said for example did they tell you, should they have told you? He said that will be debated and that is where an attorney will dig in and find out why didn’t you know? Was it part of your application? How often do you run motor vehicle checks? What is your evaluation process?
Travis Thompson said you need to develop an internal criteria per position noting what is critical for the function of that task.

Travis Thompson said once a year he accesses how well the township does with eight core areas of risk, this fundamental process, the fact that you have it and are constantly looking at it and evolving, gives you more credit for your premium to lower your overall cost of insurances.

Trustees agreed to use the updated application for zoning boards and parks board membership.

Jim Stouffer thanked the Board of Trustees, the fire department, and Police Chief Gangway for helping the Catawba Island Club organize the fireworks display planned for Labor Day Weekend.

Dave Belden said school begins Monday, August 31, and asked everyone to be careful as school busses will be out picking up and dropping off students.

John Meister asked Trustees if they have given any further consideration to allowing golf carts on township roads in the Gem Beach area and noted that other townships allow golf carts on roads with 35 mile per hour speed limits.

Diane Belden confirmed Danbury Township does allow golf carts on roads with 35 mile per hour speed limits, but also noted Danbury has very few 35 mph roads.

Matt Montowski said golf carts on township roads has been discussed extensively at previous meetings and recommended reviewing the meeting minutes from July 14, 2020. He said Low-Speed Vehicles or LSV’s are the compromise for township roads posted 35 miles per hour or less and said as a leader of the community he must take into consideration all township roads that are 35 miles per hour or less and cannot give special consideration to just one area, such as Gem Beach.

Matt Montowski said a representative from Boy Scout Troop 360 reached out and asked if they could camp out in the Cedar Meadow Preserve.

Trustees agreed Boy Scout Troop 360 could camp out in the nature preserve as requested.

Matt Montowski said he received an email from Bruce Buckingham requesting permission to conduct the 2020 all Saw-Whet owl banding research in the two Catawba park areas from mid-October to mid-November from sunset to about 10:00 p.m.

Trustees agreed Bruce Buckingham can conduct Saw-Whet owl banding research as requested.

Trustees agreed to forward the Speed Zone Study to the Ohio Department of Transportation with a letter requesting consideration to reduce the speed limit on Twin Beach Road from 35 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour.

Diane Belden made a motion to adjourn the meeting. William Rofkar seconded the motion.
All voted aye. The meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

___________________________ _____________________________
Matt Montowski, Chairman Karen Shaw, Fiscal Officer